HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE
JOHN RICHARD GREEN, M.A. Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford
THE REVOLUTION, 1683-1760. MODERN ENGLAND, 1760-1767
London MacMillan and Co., Ltd. New York: MacMillan & Co. 1896
First Edition 1879; Reprinted 1882, 1886, 1891. Eversley Edition, 1896.
THE REVOLUTION. 1683-1760
CHAPTER III PAGE THE FALL OF THE STUARTS. 1683-1714. 1
THE HOUSE OF HANOVER. 1714-1760. 147
MODERN ENGLAND. 1760-1815
ENGLAND AND ITS EMPIRE. 1760-1767. 273
THE FALL OF THE STUARTS
[Sidenote: The King's Triumph.]
In 1683 the Constitutional opposition which had held Charles so long in check lay crushed at his feet. A weaker man might easily have been led to play the mere tyrant by the mad outburst of loyalty which greeted his triumph. On the very day when the crowd around Russell's scaffold were dipping their handkerchiefs in his blood as in the blood of a martyr the University of Oxford solemnly declared that the doctrine of passive obedience even to the worst of rulers was a part of religion. But Charles saw that immense obstacles still lay in the road of a mere tyranny. Ormond and the great Tory party which had rallied to his succour against the Exclusionists were still steady for parliamentary and legal government. The Church was as powerful as ever, and the mention of a renewal of the Indulgence to Nonconformists had to be withdrawn before the opposition of the bishops. He was careful therefore during the few years which remained to him to avoid the appearance of any open violation of public law. He suspended no statute. He imposed no tax by Royal authority. Galling to the Crown as the freedom of the press and the Habeas Corpus Act were soon found to be, Charles made no attempt to curtail the one or to infringe the other. But while cautious to avoid rousing popular resistance, he moved coolly and resolutely forward on the path of despotism. It was in vain that Halifax pressed for energetic resistance to the aggressions of France, for the recall of Monmouth, or for the calling of a fresh Parliament. Like every other English statesman he found he had been duped. Now that his work was done he was suffered to remain in office but left without any influence in the government. Hyde, who was created Earl of Rochester, still remained at the head of the Treasury; but Charles soon gave more of his confidence to the supple and acute Sunderland, who atoned for his desertion of the king's cause in the heat of the Exclusion Bill by an acknowledgement of his error and a pledge of entire accordance with the king's will.
[Sidenote: New Town Charters.]
The protests both of Halifax and of Danby, who was now released from the Tower, in favour of a return to Parliaments were treated with indifference, the provisions of the Triennial Act were disregarded, and the Houses remained unassembled during the remainder of the king's reign. His secret alliance with France furnished Charles with the funds he immediately required, and the rapid growth of the customs through the increase of English commerce promised to give him a revenue which, if peace were preserved, would save him from any further need of fresh appeals to the Commons. Charles was too wise however to look upon Parliaments as utterly at an end: and he used this respite to secure a House of Commons which should really be at his disposal. The strength of the Country party had been broken by its own dissensions over the Exclusion Bill and by the flight or death of its more prominent leaders. Whatever strength it retained lay chiefly in the towns, whose representation was for the most part virtually or directly in the hands of their corporations, and whose corporations, like the merchant class generally, were in sympathy Whig. The towns were now attacked by writs of "quo warranto," which called on them to show cause why their charters should not be declared forfeited on the ground of abuse of their privileges. A few verdicts on the side of the Crown brought about a general surrender of municipal liberties; and the grant of fresh charters, in which all but ultra-loyalists were carefully excluded from their corporations, placed the representation of the boroughs in the hands of the Crown. Against active discontent Charles had long been quietly providing by the gradual increase of his Guards. The withdrawal of its garrison from Tangier enabled him to raise their force to nine thousand well-equipped soldiers, and to supplement this force, the nucleus of our present standing army, by a reserve of six regiments which were maintained till they should be needed at home in the service of the United Provinces.
[Sidenote: Death of Charles.]
But great as the danger really was it lay not so much in isolated acts of tyranny as in the character and purpose of Charles himself, and his death at the very moment of his triumph saved English freedom. He had regained his old popularity; and at the news of his sickness in the spring of 1685 crowds thronged the churches, praying that God would raise him up again to be a father to his people. But while his subjects were praying the one anxiety of the king was to die reconciled to the Catholic Church. His chamber was cleared, and a priest named Huddleston, who had saved his life after the battle of Worcester, received his confession and administered the last sacraments. Not a word of this ceremony was whispered when the nobles and bishops were recalled into the royal presence, and Charles though steadily refusing the communion which Bishop Ken offered him accepted the bishop's absolution. All the children of his mistresses save Monmouth were gathered round the bed, and Charles commended them to his brother's protection by name. The scene which followed is described by a chaplain to one of the prelates who stood round the dying king. Charles "blessed all his children one by one, pulling them on to his bed; and then the bishops moved him, as he was the Lord's anointed and the father of his country, to bless them also and all that were there present, and in them the general body of his subjects. Whereupon, the room being full, all fell down upon their knees, and he raised himself in his bed and very solemnly blessed them all." The strange comedy was at last over. Charles died as he had lived: brave, witty, cynical, even in the presence of death. Tortured as he was with pain, he begged the bystanders to forgive him for being so unconscionable a time in dying. One mistress, the Duchess of Portsmouth, hung weeping over his bed. His last thought was of another mistress, Nell Gwynn. "Do not," he whispered to his successor ere he sank into a fatal stupor, "do not let poor Nelly starve!"
[Sidenote: James the Second.]
The death of Charles in February 1685 placed his brother James, the Duke of York, upon the throne. His character and policy were already well known. Of all the Stuart rulers James is the only one whose intellect was below mediocrity. His mind was dull and narrow though orderly and methodical; his temper dogged and arbitrary but sincere. His religious and political tendencies had always been the same. He had always cherished an entire belief in the royal authority and a hatred of Parliaments. His main desire was for the establishment of Catholicism as the only means of ensuring the obedience of his people; and his old love of France was quickened by the firm reliance which he placed on the aid of Lewis in bringing about that establishment. But the secrecy in which his political action had as yet been shrouded and his long absence from England had hindered any general knowledge of his designs. His first words on his accession, his promise to "preserve this Government both in Church and State as it is now by law established," were welcomed by the whole country with enthusiasm. All the suspicions of a Catholic sovereign seemed to have disappeared. "We have the word of a King!" ran the general cry, "and of a King who was never worse than his word." The conviction of his brother's faithlessness in fact stood James in good stead. He was looked upon as narrow, impetuous, stubborn, and despotic in heart, but even his enemies did not accuse him of being false. Above all, incredible as such a belief may seem now, he was believed to be keenly alive to the honour of his country and resolute to free it from foreign dependence.
[Sidenote: James and Parliament.]
From the first indeed there were indications that James understood his declaration in a different sense from the nation. He was resolved to make no disguise of his own religion; the chapel in which he had hitherto worshipped with closed doors was now thrown open and the king seen at Mass. He regarded attacks on his faith as attacks on himself, and at once called on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to hinder all preaching against Catholicism as a part of their "duty" to their king. He made no secret of his resolve to procure freedom of worship for his co-religionists while still refusing it to the rest of the Nonconformists, whom he hated as republicans and Exclusionists. All was passed over however in the general confidence. It was necessary to summon a Parliament, for the royal revenue ceased with the death of Charles; but the elections, swayed at once by the tide of loyalty and by the command of the boroughs which the surrender of their charters had given to the Crown, sent up in May a House of Commons in which James found few members who were not to his mind. His appointment indeed of Catholic officers in the army was already exciting murmurs; but these were hushed as James repeated his pledge of maintaining the established order both in Church and State. The question of religious security was waived at a hint of the royal displeasure, and a revenue of nearly two millions was granted to the king for life.
[Sidenote: Argyle's Rising.]
All that was wanted to rouse the loyalty of the country into fanaticism was supplied by a rebellion in the North, and by another under Monmouth in the West. The hopes of Scotch freedom had clung ever since the Restoration to the house of Argyle. The great Marquis indeed had been brought to the block at the king's return. His son, the Earl of Argyle, had been unable to save himself even by a life of singular caution and obedience from the ill-will of the vile politicians who governed Scotland. He was at last convicted of treason in 1682 on grounds at which every English statesman stood aghast. "We should not hang a dog here," Halifax protested, "on the grounds on which my Lord Argyle has been sentenced to death." The Earl escaped however to Holland, and lived peaceably there during the last six years of the reign of Charles. Monmouth had found the same refuge at the Hague, where a belief in the king's love and purpose to recall him secured him a kindly reception from William of Orange. But the accession of James was a death-blow to the hopes of the Duke, while it stirred the fanaticism of Argyle to a resolve of wresting Scotland from the rule of a Catholic king. The two leaders determined to appear in arms in England and the North, and the two expeditions sailed within a few days of each other. Argyle's attempt was soon over. His clan of the Campbells rose on the Earl's landing in Cantyre, but the country had been occupied for the king, and quarrels among the exiles who accompanied him robbed his effort of every chance of success. His force scattered without a fight; and Argyle, arrested in an attempt to escape, was hurried on the 30th of June to a traitor's death.
[Sidenote: Monmouth's Rising.]
Monmouth for a time found brighter fortune. His popularity in the West was great, and though the gentry held aloof when he landed at Lyme and demanded an effective parliamentary government as well as freedom of worship for Protestant Nonconformists, the farmers and traders of Devonshire and Dorset flocked to his standard. The clothier-towns of Somerset were true to the Whig cause, as they had been true to the cause of the Long Parliament; and on the entrance of the Duke into Taunton the popular enthusiasm showed itself in the flowers which wreathed every door, as well as in a train of young girls who presented Monmouth with a Bible and a flag. His forces now amounted to six thousand men, but whatever chance of success he might have had was lost by his assumption of the title of king, his right to which he had pledged himself hitherto to leave for decision to a free Parliament. The two Houses offered to support James with their lives and fortunes, and passed a bill of attainder against the Duke. The gentry, still true to the cause of Mary and of William, held stubbornly aloof; while the Guards and the regiments from Tangier hurried to the scene of the revolt and the militia gathered to the royal standard. Foiled in an attempt on Bristol and Bath, Monmouth fell back on Bridgewater, and flung himself in the night of the 6th of July on the king's forces as they lay encamped hard by on Sedgemoor. The surprise failed; and the brave peasants and miners who followed the Duke, checked in their advance by a deep drain which crossed the moor, were broken after a short but desperate resistance by the royal horse. Their leader fled from the field, and after a vain effort to escape from the realm was captured and sent pitilessly to the block.
[Sidenote: The Bloody Circuit.]
Never had England shown a firmer loyalty; but its loyalty was changed into horror by the terrible measures of repression which followed on the victory of Sedgemoor. Even North, the Lord Keeper, a servile tool of the Crown, protested against the license and bloodshed in which the troops were suffered to indulge after the battle. His protest however was disregarded, and he withdrew broken-hearted from the Court to die. James was in fact resolved on a far more terrible vengeance; and the Chief-Justice Jeffreys, a man of great natural powers but of violent temper, was sent to earn the Seals by a series of judicial murders which have left his name a byword for cruelty. Three hundred and fifty rebels were hanged in what has ever since, been known as the "Bloody Circuit," while Jeffreys made his way through Dorset and Somerset. More than eight hundred were sold into slavery beyond sea. A yet larger number were whipped and imprisoned. The Queen, the maids of honour, the courtiers, even the Judge himself, made shameless profit from the sale of pardons. What roused pity above all were the cruelties wreaked upon women. Some were scourged from market-town to market-town. Mrs. Lisle, the wife of one of the Regicides, was sent to the block at Winchester for harbouring a rebel. Elizabeth Gaunt for the same act of womanly charity was burned at Tyburn. Pity turned into horror when it was found that cruelty such as this was avowed and sanctioned by the king. Even the cold heart of General Churchill, to whose energy the victory at Sedgemoor had mainly been owing, revolted at the ruthlessness with which James turned away from all appeals for mercy. "This marble," he cried as he struck the chimney-piece on which he leant, "is not harder than the king's heart."
[Sidenote: James and France.]
But it was soon plain that the terror which this butchery was meant to strike into the people was part of a larger purpose. The revolt was made a pretext for a vast increase of the standing army. Charles, as we have seen, had silently and cautiously raised it to nearly ten thousand men; James raised it at one swoop to twenty thousand. The employment of this force was to be at home, not abroad, for the hope of an English policy in foreign affairs had already faded away. In the designs which James had at heart he could look for no consent from Parliament; and however his pride revolted against a dependence on France, it was only by French gold and French soldiers that he could hope to hold the Parliament permanently at bay. A week therefore after his accession he assured Lewis that his gratitude and devotion to him equalled that of Charles himself. "Tell your master," he said to the French ambassador, "that without his protection I can do nothing. He has a right to be consulted, and it is my wish to consult him, about everything." The pledge of subservience was rewarded with the promise of a subsidy, and the promise was received with the strongest expressions of delight and servility. The hopes which the Prince of Orange had conceived from his father-in-law's more warlike temper were nipped by a refusal to allow him to visit England. All the caution and reserve of Charles the Second in his dealings with France was set aside. Sunderland, the favourite Minister of the new king as he had been of the old, not only promised during the session to avoid the connection with Spain and Holland which the Parliament was known to desire, but "to throw aside the mask and openly break with them as soon as the royal revenue is secured." The support indeed which James needed was a far closer and firmer support than his brother had sought for. Lewis on the other hand trusted him as he could never trust Charles. His own bigotry understood the bigotry of the new sovereign. "The confirmation of the King's authority and the establishment of religion," he wrote, "are our common interest"; and he promised that James should "find in his friendship all the resources which he can expect."
[Sidenote: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.]
Never had the secret league with France seemed so full of danger to English religion. Europe had long been trembling at the ambition of Lewis; it was trembling now at his bigotry. He had proclaimed warfare against civil liberty in his attack upon Holland; he declared war at this moment upon religious freedom by revoking the Edict of Nantes, the measure by which Henry the Fourth after his abandonment of Protestantism secured toleration and the free exercise of their worship for his Protestant subjects. It had been respected by Richelieu even in his victory over the Huguenots, and only lightly tampered with by Mazarin. But from the beginning of his reign Lewis had resolved to set aside its provisions, and his revocation of it at the end of 1685 was only the natural close of a progressive system of persecution. The revocation was followed by outrages more cruel than even the bloodshed of Alva. Dragoons were quartered on Protestant families, women were flung from their sick-beds into the streets, children were torn from their mothers' arms to be brought up in Catholicism, ministers were sent to the galleys. In spite of the royal edicts which forbade even flight to the victims of these horrible atrocities a hundred thousand Protestants fled over the borders, and Holland, Switzerland, the Palatinate, were filled with French exiles. Thousands found refuge in England, and their industry established in the fields east of London the silk trade of Spitalfields.
[Sidenote: James and the Parliament.]
But while Englishmen were looking with horror on these events in France James was taking advantage of the position in which as he believed they placed him. The news of the revocation drew from James expressions of delight. The rapid increase of the conversions to Catholicism which followed on the "dragonnades" raised in him hopes of as general an apostasy in his own dominions. His tone took a new haughtiness and decision. He admitted more Catholic officers into his fresh regiments. He dismissed Halifax from the Privy Council on his refusal to consent to a plan for repealing the Test Act. He met the Parliament on its reassembling in November with a haughty declaration that whether legal or no his grant of commissions to Catholics must not be questioned, and with a demand of supplies for his new troops. Loyal as was the temper of the Houses, their alarm for the Church, their dread of a standing army, was yet stronger than their loyalty. The Commons by the majority of a single vote deferred the grant of supplies till grievances were redressed, and demanded in their address the recall of the illegal commissions on the ground that the continuance of the Catholic officers in their posts "may be taken to be a dispensing with that law without Act of Parliament." The Lords took a bolder tone; and the protest of the bishops against any infringement of the Test Act expressed by Bishop Compton of London was backed by the eloquence of Halifax. Their desire for conciliation indeed was shown in an offer to confirm the existing officers in their posts by Act of Parliament, and even to allow fresh nominations of Catholics by the king under the same security. But James had no wish for such a compromise, and the Houses were at once prorogued.
[Sidenote: The Test set aside.]
The king resolved to obtain from the judges what he could not obtain from Parliament. He remodelled the bench by dismissing four judges who refused to lend themselves to his plans; and in the June of 1686 their successors decided in the case of Sir Edward Hales, a Catholic officer in the army, that a royal dispensation could be pleaded in bar of the Test Act. The principle laid down by the judges "that it is a privilege inseparably connected with the sovereignty of the King to dispense with penal laws, and that according to his own judgment," was applied by James with a reckless impatience of all decency and self-restraint. Catholics were admitted into civil and military offices without stint, and four Catholic peers were sworn as members of the Privy Council. The laws which forbade the presence of Catholic priests in the realm or the open exercise of Catholic worship were set at nought. A gorgeous chapel was opened in the palace of St. James for the use of the king. Carmelites, Benedictines, Franciscans, appeared in their religious garb in the streets of London, and the Jesuits set up a crowded school in the Savoy. The quick growth of discontent at these acts would have startled a wiser man into prudence, but James prided himself on an obstinacy which never gave way; and a riot which took place on the opening of a Catholic chapel in the City was followed by the establishment of a camp of thirteen thousand men at Hounslow to overawe the capital.
[Sidenote: Scotland and Ireland.]
The course which James intended to follow in England was shown indeed by the course he was following in the sister kingdoms. In Scotland he acted as a pure despot. At the close of Charles's reign the extreme Covenanters or "wild Whigs" of the Western shires had formally renounced their allegiance to a "prelatical" king. A smouldering revolt spread over the country that was only held in check by the merciless cruelties with which the royal troops avenged the "rabbling of priests" and the outrages committed by the Whigs on the more prominent persecutors. Such a revolt threw strength into the hands of the government by rallying to its side all who were bent on public order, and this strength was doubled by the landing and failure of Argyle. The Scotch Parliament granted excise and customs not to the king only but to his successors, while it confirmed the Acts which established religious conformity. But James was far from being satisfied with a loyalty which made no concession to the "king's religion." He placed the government of Scotland in the hands of two lords, Melfort and Perth, who had embraced his own faith, and put a Catholic in command of the Castle of Edinburgh. The drift of these measures was soon seen. The Scotch Parliament had as yet been the mere creature of the Crown, but servile as were its members there was a point at which their servility stopped. When James boldly required them to legalize the toleration of Catholics they refused to pass such an Act. It was in vain that the king tempted them to consent by the offer of a free trade with England. "Shall we sell our God?" was the indignant reply. James at once ordered the Scotch judges to treat all laws against Catholics as null and void, and his orders were obeyed. In Ireland his policy threw off even the disguise of law. Catholics were admitted by the king's command to the council and to civil offices. A Catholic, Lord Tyrconnell, was put at the head of the army, and set instantly about its re-organization by cashiering Protestant officers and by admitting two thousand Catholic natives into its ranks.
[Sidenote: The High Commission.]
Meanwhile in England James was passing from the mere attempt to secure freedom for his fellow-religionists to a bold and systematic attack upon the Church. He had at the outset of his reign forbidden the clergy to preach against "the king's religion"; and ordered the bishops to act upon this prohibition. But no steps were taken by them to carry out this order; and the pulpits of the capital soon rang with controversial sermons. For such a sermon James now called on Compton, the Bishop of London, to suspend Dr. Sharp, the rector of St. Giles'-in-the-Fields. Compton answered that as judge he was ready to examine into the case if brought before him according to law. To James the matter was not one of law but of prerogative. He regarded his ecclesiastical supremacy as a weapon providentially left to him for undoing the work which it had enabled his predecessors to do. Under Henry and Elizabeth it had been used to turn the Church of England from Catholic to Protestant. Under James it might be used to turn the Church back again from Protestant to Catholic. The High Commission indeed which had enforced this supremacy had been declared illegal by an Act of the Long Parliament, and this Act had been confirmed by the Parliament of the Restoration. But it was thought possible to evade this Act by omitting from the instructions on which the Commission acted the extraordinary powers and jurisdictions by which its predecessor had given offence. With this reserve, seven commissioners were appointed in the summer of 1686 for the government of the Church with the Chancellor, Lord Jeffreys, at their head. The first blow of the Commission was at the Bishop of London whose refusal to suspend Sharp was punished by his own suspension. But the pressure of the Commission only drove the clergy to a bolder defiance of the royal will. The legality of the Commission and of its proceedings was denied. Not even the Pope, it was said, had claimed such rights over the conduct and jurisdiction of English bishops as were claimed by the king. The prohibition of attacks on the "king's religion" was set at nought. Sermons against superstition were preached from every pulpit; and the two most famous divines of the day, Tillotson and Stillingfleet, put themselves at the head of a host of controversialists who scattered pamphlets and tracts from every printing press.
[Sidenote: James and the Tories.]
It was in vain that the bulk of the Catholic gentry stood aloof and predicted the inevitable reaction which the king's course must bring about, or that Rome itself counselled greater moderation. James was infatuated with what seemed to be the success of his enterprises. He looked on the opposition he experienced as due to the influence of the High Church Tories who had remained in power since the reaction of 1681, and these he determined "to chastise." The Duke of Queensberry, the leader of this party in Scotland, was driven from office. Tyrconnell, as we have seen, was placed as a check on Ormond in Ireland. In England James resolved to show the world that even the closest ties of blood were as nothing to him if they conflicted with the demands of his faith. His earlier marriage with Anne Hyde, the daughter of Clarendon, bound both the Chancellor's sons to his fortunes; and on his accession he had sent his elder brother-in-law, Edward, Earl of Clarendon, as Lord-Lieutenant to Ireland, and raised the younger, Laurence, Earl of Rochester, who had long been a minister under Charles the Second, to the post of Lord Treasurer. But the sons of Hyde were as staunch to the old Cavalier doctrines of Church and State as Hyde himself. Rochester therefore was told in the opening of 1687 that the king could not safely entrust so great a charge to any one who did not share his sentiments on religion, and on his refusal to abandon his faith he was deprived of the White Staff. His brother Clarendon shared his fall. A Catholic, Lord Bellasys, became First Lord of the Treasury, which was again put into commission after Rochester's removal; and another Catholic, Lord Arundell, became Lord Privy Seal; while Father Petre, a Jesuit, was called to the Privy Council.
[Sidenote: The Tory Nobles.]
The dismissal of Rochester sprang mainly from a belief that with such a minister James would fail to procure from the Parliament that freedom for Catholics which he was bent on establishing. It was in fact a declaration that on this matter none in the king's service must oppose the king's will, and it was followed up by the dismissal of one official after another who refused to aid in the repeal of the Test Act. But acts like these were of no avail against the steady growth of resistance. If the great Tory nobles were staunch for the Crown, they were as resolute Englishmen in their hatred of mere tyranny as the Whigs themselves. James gave the Duke of Norfolk the sword of State to carry before him as he went to Mass. The Duke stopped at the Chapel door. "Your father would have gone further," said the king. "Your Majesty's father was the better man," replied the Duke, "and he would not have gone so far." The young Duke of Somerset was ordered to introduce into the Presence Chamber the Papal Nuncio, who was now received in State at Windsor in the teeth of a statute which forbade diplomatic relations with Rome. "I am advised," Somerset answered, "that I cannot obey your Majesty without breaking the law." "Do you not know that I am above the law?" James asked angrily. "Your Majesty may be, but I am not," retorted the Duke. He was dismissed from his post, but the spirit of resistance spread fast. In spite of the king's letters the governors of the Charterhouse, who numbered among them some of the greatest English nobles, refused to admit a Catholic to the benefits of the foundation. The most devoted loyalists began to murmur when James demanded apostasy as a proof of their loyalty.
[Sidenote: James and the Nonconformists.]
He had in fact to abandon at last all hope of bringing the Church or the Tories over to his will, and in the spring of 1687 he turned, as Charles had turned, to the Nonconformists. He published in April a Declaration of Indulgence which suspended the operation of the penal laws against Nonconformists and Catholics alike, and of every Act which imposed a test as a qualification for office in Church or State. A hope was expressed that this measure would be sanctioned by Parliament when it was suffered to reassemble. The temptation to accept the Indulgence was great, for since the fall of Shaftesbury persecution had fallen heavily on the Protestant dissidents, and we can hardly wonder that the Nonconformists wavered for a time or that numerous addresses of thanks were presented to James. But the great body of them, and all the more venerable names among them, remained true to the cause of freedom. Baxter, Howe, and Bunyan all refused an Indulgence which could only be purchased by the violent overthrow of the law. It was plain that the only mode of actually securing the end which James had in view was to procure a repeal of the Test Act from Parliament itself. It was to this that the king's dismissal of Rochester and other ministerial changes had been directed; but James found that the temper of the existing Houses, so far as he could test it, remained absolutely opposed to his project. In July therefore he dissolved the Parliament, and summoned a new one. In spite of the support he might expect from the Nonconformists in the elections, he knew that no free Parliament could be brought to consent to the repeal. The Lords indeed could be swamped by lavish creations of new peers. "Your troop of horse," Lord Sunderland told Churchill, "shall be called up into the House of Lords." But it was a harder matter to secure a compliant House of Commons. No effort however was spared. The Lord-Lieutenants were directed to bring about such a "regulation" of the governing body in boroughs as would ensure the return of candidates pledged to the repeal of the Test, and to question every magistrate in their county as to his vote. Half of them at once refused to comply, and a string of great nobles—the Lords of Oxford, Shrewsbury, Dorset, Derby, Pembroke, Rutland, Abergavenny, Thanet, Northampton, and Abingdon—were dismissed from their Lord-Lieutenancies. The justices when questioned simply replied that they would vote according to their consciences, and send members to Parliament who would protect the Protestant religion. After repeated "regulations" it was found impossible to form a corporate body which would return representatives willing to comply with the royal will. All thought of a Parliament had to be abandoned; and even the most bigoted courtiers counselled moderation at this proof of the stubborn opposition which James must prepare to encounter from the peers, the gentry, and the trading classes.
[Sidenote: The Attack on the Universities.]
Estranged as he was from the whole body of the nobles and gentry it remained for James to force the clergy also into an attitude of resistance. Even the tyranny of the Commission had failed to drive into open opposition men who had been preaching Sunday after Sunday the doctrine of passive obedience to the worst of kings. But James who had now finally abandoned all hope of winning the aid of the Church in his project cared little for passive obedience. He looked on the refusal of the clergy to support his plans as freeing him from the pledge he had given to maintain the Church as established by law; and he resolved to attack it in the great institutions which had till now been its strongholds. To secure the Universities for Catholicism was to seize the only training schools which the English clergy possessed as well as the only centres of higher education which existed for the English gentry. It was on such a seizure however that James's mind was set. Little indeed was done with Cambridge. A Benedictine monk, who presented himself with royal letters recommending him for the degree of a Master of Arts, was rejected on his refusal to sign the Articles; and the Vice-Chancellor was summoned before the Privy Council and punished for his rejection by deprivation from office. But a violent and obstinate attack was directed against Oxford. The Master of University College, Obadiah Walker, who declared himself a Catholic convert, was authorized to retain his post in defiance of the law. A Roman Catholic named Massey was presented by the Crown to the Deanery of Christ Church. Magdalen was the wealthiest College in the University; and James in 1687 recommended one Farmer, a Catholic of infamous life and not even qualified by statute for the office, to its vacant headship. The Fellows remonstrated, and on the rejection of their remonstrance chose Hough, one of their own number, as their President. The Ecclesiastical Commission declared the election void; and James, shamed out of his first candidate, recommended a second, Parker, Bishop of Oxford, a Catholic in heart and the meanest of his courtiers. The Fellows however pleaded that Hough was already chosen, and they held stubbornly to their legal head. It was in vain that the king visited Oxford, summoned them to his presence, and rated them as they knelt before him like schoolboys. "I am King," he said; "I will be obeyed! Go to your chapel this instant, and elect the Bishop! Let those who refuse look to it, for they shall feel the whole weight of my hand!" It was seen that to give Magdalen as well as Christ Church into Catholic hands was to turn Oxford into a Catholic seminary, and the king's threats were disregarded. But they were soon carried out. A special Commission visited the University, pronounced Hough an intruder, set aside his appeal to the law, burst open the door of his president's house to install Parker in his place, and on their refusal to submit deprived the Fellows of their fellowships. The expulsion of the Fellows was followed on a like refusal by that of the Demies. Parker, who died immediately after his installation, was succeeded by a Roman Catholic bishop in partibus, named Bonaventure Gifford, and twelve Roman Catholics were admitted to fellowships in a single day.
[Sidenote: James and William.]
With peers, gentry, and clergy in dogged opposition the scheme of wresting a repeal of the Test Act from a new Parliament became impracticable, and without this—as James well knew—his system of Indulgence, even if he was able to maintain it so long, must end with his death and the accession of a Protestant sovereign. It was to provide against such a defeat of his designs that he stooped to ask the aid of William of Orange. Ever since his accession William had followed his father-in-law's course with a growing anxiety. For while England was seething with the madness of the Popish Plot and of the royalist reaction the great European struggle which occupied the whole mind of the Prince had been drawing nearer and nearer. The patience of Germany indeed was worn out by the ceaseless aggressions of Lewis, and in 1686 its princes had bound themselves at Augsburg to resist all further encroachments on the part of France. From that moment war became inevitable, and in such a war William had always held that the aid of England was essential to success. But his efforts to ensure English aid had utterly failed. James, as William soon came to know, had renewed his brother's secret treaty with France; and even had this been otherwise his quarrel with his people would of itself have prevented him from giving any aid in a struggle abroad. The Prince could only silently look on with a desperate hope that James might yet be brought to a nobler policy. He refused all encouragement to the leading malcontents who were already calling on him to interfere in arms. On the other hand he declined to support the king in his schemes for the abolition of the Test. If he still cherished hopes of bringing about a peace between the king and people which might enable him to enlist England in the Grand Alliance, they vanished in 1687 before the Declaration of Indulgence. It was at this moment, at the end of May, that James called on him and Mary to declare themselves in favour of the abolition of the penal laws and of the Test. "Conscience, honour, and good policy," wrote James, "bind me to procure safety for the Catholics. I cannot leave those who have remained faithful to the old and true religion subject to the oppression under which the laws place them."
[Sidenote: The King's hopes.]
But simultaneously with the king's appeal letters of great import reached the Prince from the leading nobles. Some, like the Hydes, simply assured him of their friendship. The Bishop of London added assurances of support. Others, like Devonshire, Nottingham, and Shrewsbury, cautiously or openly warned the Prince against compliance with the king's demand. Lord Churchill announced the resolve of Mary's sister Anne to stand in any case by the cause of Protestantism. Danby, the leading representative of the great Tory party, told the Dutch ambassador plainly to warn William that if James was suffered to pursue his present course, and above all to gain control over the Parliament, he would leave the Catholic party strong enough at his death to threaten Mary's succession. The letters dictated William's answer. No one, he truly protested, loathed religious persecution more than he himself did, but in relaxing political disabilities James called on him to countenance an attack on his own religion. "I cannot," he ended, "concur in what your Majesty desires of me." William's refusal was justified, as we have seen, by the result of the efforts to assemble a Parliament favourable to the repeal of the Test. The wholesale dismissal of justices and Lord-Lieutenants through the summer of 1687 failed to shake the resolve of the counties. The "regulation" of their corporations by the displacing of their older members and the substitution of Nonconformists did little to gain the towns. The year 1688 indeed had hardly opened when it was found necessary to adjourn the elections which had been fixed for February, and to make a fresh attempt to win a warmer support from the dissidents and from the country. For James clung with a desperate tenacity to the hope of finding a compliant Parliament. He knew, what was as yet unknown to the world, the fact that his Queen was with child. The birth of an heir would meet the danger which he looked for from the succession of William and Mary. But James was past middle life, and his death would leave his boy at the mercy of a Regency which could hardly fail to be composed of men who would undo the king's work and even bring up the young sovereign as a Protestant. His own security, as he thought, against such a course lay in the building up a strong Catholic party, in placing Catholics in the high offices of State, and in providing against their expulsion from these at his death by a repeal of the Test. But such a repeal could only be won from Parliament, and hopeless as the effort seemed James pressed doggedly on in his attempt to secure Houses who would carry out his will.
[Sidenote: The Trial of the Bishops.]
The renewed Declaration of Indulgence which he issued in 1688 was not only intended to win the Nonconformists by fresh assurances of the king's sincerity, it was an appeal to the nation at large. At its close he promised to summon a Parliament in November, and he called on the electors to choose such members as would bring to a successful end the policy he had begun. His resolve, he said, was to make merit the one qualification for office and to establish universal liberty of conscience for all future time. It was in this character of a royal appeal that he ordered every clergyman to read the Declaration during divine service on two successive Sundays. Little time was given for deliberation; but little time was needed. The clergy refused almost to a man to be the instruments of their own humiliation. The Declaration was read in only four of the London churches, and in these the congregation flocked out of church at the first words of it. Nearly all the country parsons refused to obey the royal orders, and the Bishops went with the rest of the clergy. A few days before the appointed Sunday Archbishop Sancroft called his suffragans together, and the six who were able to appear at Lambeth signed a temperate protest to the king in which they declined to publish an illegal Declaration. "It is a standard of rebellion," James exclaimed, as the Primate presented the paper; and the resistance of the clergy was no sooner announced to him than he determined to wreak his vengeance on the prelates who had signed the protest. He ordered the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to deprive them of their sees; but in this matter even the Commissioners shrank from obeying him. The Chancellor, Lord Jeffreys, advised a prosecution for libel as an easier mode of punishment; and the Bishops, who refused to give bail, were committed on this charge to the Tower. They passed to their prison amidst the shouts of a great multitude; the sentinels knelt for their blessing as they entered its gates, and the soldiers of the garrison drank their healths. So threatening was the temper of the nation that his ministers pressed James to give way. But his obstinacy grew with the danger. "Indulgence," he said, "ruined my father"; and on the 29th of June the Bishops appeared as criminals at the bar of the King's Bench. The jury had been packed, the judges were mere tools of the Crown, but judges and jury were alike overawed by the indignation of the people at large. No sooner had the foreman of the jury uttered the words "Not guilty" than a roar of applause burst from the crowd, and horsemen spurred along every road to carry over the country the news of the acquittal.
[Sidenote: The National discontent.]
James was at Hounslow when the news of the verdict reached him, and as he rode from the camp he heard a great shout behind him. "What is that?" he asked. "It is nothing," was the reply; "only the soldiers are glad that the Bishops are acquitted!" "Do you call that nothing?" grumbled the king. The shout told him that he stood utterly alone in his realm. The peerage, the gentry, the bishops, the clergy, the universities, every lawyer, every trader, every farmer, stood aloof from him. And now his very soldiers forsook him. The most devoted Catholics pressed him to give way. But to give way was to reverse every act he had done since his accession and to change the whole nature of his government. All show of legal rule had disappeared. Sheriffs, mayors, magistrates, appointed by the Crown in defiance of a parliamentary statute, were no real officers in the eye of the law. Even if the Houses were summoned members returned by officers such as these could form no legal Parliament. Hardly a Minister of the Crown or a Privy Councillor exercised any lawful authority. James had brought things to such a pass that the restoration of legal government meant the absolute reversal of every act he had done. But he was in no mood to reverse his acts. His temper was only spurred to a more dogged obstinacy by danger and remonstrance. "I will lose all," he said to the Spanish ambassador who counselled moderation; "I will lose all or win all." He broke up the camp at Hounslow and dispersed its troops in distant cantonments. He dismissed the two judges who had favoured the acquittal of the Bishops. He ordered the chancellor of each diocese to report the names of the clergy who had not read the Declaration of Indulgence. But his will broke fruitlessly against a sullen resistance which met him on every side. Not a chancellor made a return to the Commissioners, and the Commissioners were cowed into inaction by the temper of the nation. When the judges who had displayed their servility to the Crown went on circuit the gentry refused to meet them. A yet fiercer irritation was kindled by the king's resolve to supply the place of the English troops whose temper proved unserviceable for his purposes by drafts from the Catholic army which Tyrconnell had raised in Ireland. Even the Roman Catholic peers at the Council-table protested against this measure; and six officers in a single regiment laid down their commissions rather than enrol the Irish recruits among their men. The ballad of "Lillibullero," a scurrilous attack on the Irish recruits, was sung from one end of England to the other.
[Sidenote: The Invitation.]
Wide however as the disaffection undoubtedly was the position of James seemed fairly secure. He counted on the aid of France. His army, whatever signs of discontent it might show, was still a formidable force of twenty thousand men. Scotland, disheartened by the failure of Argyle's rising, could give no such help as it gave to the Long Parliament. Ireland on the other hand was ready to throw a Catholic army in the king's support on the western coast. It was doubtful too if in England itself disaffection would turn into actual revolt. The Bloody Assize had left its terror on the Whigs. The Tories and Churchmen, angered as they were, were still hampered by their horror of rebellion and their doctrine of non-resistance. Above all the eyes of the nation rested on William and Mary. James was past middle age, and a few years must bring a Protestant successor and restore the reign of law. But in the midst of the struggle with the Church it was announced that the Queen was again with child. The news was received with general unbelief, for five years had passed since the last pregnancy of Mary of Modena, and the unbelief passed into a general expectation of some imposture as men watched the joy of the Catholics and their confident prophecies that the child would be a boy. But, truth or imposture, it was plain that the appearance of a Prince of Wales must bring on a crisis. If the child turned out a boy, and as was certain was brought up a Catholic, the highest Tory had to resolve at last whether the tyranny under which England lay should go on for ever. The hesitation of the country was at an end. Danby, loyal above all to the Church and firm in his hatred of subservience to France, answered for the Tories. Compton answered for the High Churchmen, goaded at last into rebellion by the Declaration of Indulgence. The Earl of Devonshire, the Lord Cavendish of the Exclusion struggle, answered for the Nonconformists, who were satisfied with William's promise to procure them toleration, as well as for the general body of the Whigs. The announcement of the boy's birth on the 10th of June was followed ten days after by a formal invitation to William to intervene in arms for the restoration of English liberty and the protection of the Protestant religion. The invitation was signed by Danby, Devonshire, and Compton, the representatives of the great parties whose long fight was hushed at last by a common danger, by two recent converts from the Catholic faith, the Earl of Shrewsbury and Lord Lumley, by Edward the cousin of Lord Russell, and by Henry the brother of Algernon Sidney. It was carried to the Hague by Herbert, the most popular of English seamen, who had been deprived of his command for a refusal to vote against the Test.
[Sidenote: James and France.]
The Invitation called on the Prince of Orange to land with an army strong enough to justify those who signed it in rising in arms. An outbreak of revolt was in fact inevitable, and either its success or defeat must be equally fatal to William should he refuse to put himself at its head. If the rebels were victorious, their resentment at his desertion of their cause in the hour of need would make Mary's succession impossible and probably bring about the establishment of a Commonwealth. On the other hand the victory of the king would not only ruin English freedom and English Protestantism, but fling the whole weight of England in the contest for the liberties of Europe which was now about to open into the scale of France. From the opening of 1688 the signs of a mutual understanding between the English Court and the French had been unmistakeable. James had declared himself on the side of Lewis in the negotiations with the Empire which followed on the Treaty of Augsburg. He had backed Sweden in its threats of war against the Dutch. At the instigation of France he had recalled the English and Scotch troops in the service of the States. He had received supplies from Lewis to send an English fleet to the coast of Holland; and was at this moment supporting at Rome the French side in the quarrel over the Electorate of Cologne, a quarrel which rendered war inevitable. It was certain therefore that success at home would secure James's aid to France in the struggle abroad.
[Sidenote: William's Acceptance.]
It was this above all which decided the action of the Prince, for the ruling passion in William's heart was the longing to free Europe from the supremacy of France. It was this too which made his enterprise possible, for nothing but a sense of their own danger would have forced his opponents in Holland itself to assent to his expedition. Their assent however once gained, William strained all his resources as Admiral and Captain-General to gather a fleet and a sufficient force under pretext of defence against the English fleet which now appeared in the Channel, while Brandenburg promised to supply the place of the Dutch forces during their absence in England by lending the States nine thousand men. As soon as the news of these preparations reached England noble after noble made his way to the Hague. The Earl of Shrewsbury brought L2000 towards the expenses of the expedition. Edward Russell, the representative of the Whig Earl of Bedford, was followed by the representatives of great Tory houses, by the sons of the Marquis of Winchester, of Lord Danby, of Lord Peterborough, and by Lord Macclesfield, a well-known High Churchman. At home the Earls of Danby and Devonshire prepared silently with Lord Lumley for a rising in the North. In spite of the profound secrecy with which all was conducted, the keen instinct of Sunderland, who had stooped to purchase continuance in office at the price of a secret apostasy to Catholicism, detected the preparations of William; and the sense that his master's ruin was at hand encouraged him to tell every secret of James on the promise of a pardon for the crimes to which he had lent himself. James alone remained stubborn and insensate as of old. He had no fear of a revolt unaided by the Prince of Orange, and he believed that the threat of a French attack on Holland itself would render William's departure impossible. At the opening of September indeed Lewis declared himself aware of the meaning of the Dutch armaments and warned the States that he should look on an attack upon James as a war upon himself.
[Sidenote: James gives way.]
Fortunately for William so open an announcement of the union between England and France suited ill with the plans of James. He still looked forward to the coming Parliament, and the knowledge of a league with France was certain to make any Parliament reluctant to admit Catholics to a share in political life. James therefore roughly disavowed the act of Lewis, and William was able to continue his preparations. But even had no such disavowal come the threat of Lewis would have remained an empty one. In spite of the counsel of Louvois he looked on an invasion of Holland as likely to serve English interests rather than French and resolved to open the war by a campaign on the Rhine. In September his troops marched eastward, and the Dutch at once felt themselves secure. The States-General gave their public sanction to William's project, and the armament he had prepared gathered rapidly in the Scheldt. The news of war and of the diversion of the French forces to Germany no sooner reached England than the king passed from obstinacy to panic. By drafts from Scotland and Ireland he had mustered forty thousand men, but the temper of the troops robbed him of all trust in them. Help from France was now out of the question. There was nothing for it but to fall back, as Sunderland had for some time been advising him to fall back, on the older policy of a union with the Tory party and the party of the Church; and to win assent for his plans from the coming Parliament by an abandonment of his recent acts. But the haste and completeness with which James reversed his whole course forbade any belief in his sincerity. He personally appealed for support to the Bishops. He dissolved the Ecclesiastical Commission. He replaced the magistrates he had driven from office. He restored their franchises to the towns. The Chancellor carried back the Charter of London in state into the City. The Bishop of Winchester was sent to replace the expelled Fellows of Magdalen. Catholic chapels and Jesuit schools were ordered to be closed.
[Sidenote: William's Landing.]
Sunderland pressed for the instant calling of a Parliament. But it was still plain that any Parliament would as yet be eager for war with France and would probably call on the king to put the Prince of Orange at the head of his army in such a war. To James therefore Sunderland's counsel seemed treachery, the issue of a secret design with William to place him helpless in the Prince's hands and above all to imperil the succession of his boy, whose birth William had now been brought by advice from the English lords to regard as an imposture. He again therefore fell back on France which made new advances to him in the hope of meeting this fresh danger of an attack from England; and in the end of October he dismissed Sunderland from office. But Sunderland had hardly left Whitehall when the Declaration of the Prince of Orange reached England. It demanded the removal of grievances and the calling of a free Parliament which should establish English freedom and religion on a secure basis. It promised toleration to Protestant Nonconformists and freedom of conscience to Catholics. It left the question of the legitimacy of the Prince of Wales and the settlement of the succession to Parliament. James was wounded above all by the doubts thrown on the birth of a Prince; and he produced proofs of the birth before the peers who were in London. But the proofs came too late. Detained by ill winds, beaten back on its first venture by a violent storm, William's fleet of six hundred transports, escorted by fifty men-of-war, anchored on the 5th of November in Torbay; and his army, thirteen thousand strong, entered Exeter amid the shouts of its citizens. Great pains had been taken to strip from William's army the appearance of a foreign force, which might have stirred English feeling to resistance. The core of it consisted of the English and Scottish regiments which had remained in the service of the States in spite of their recall by the king. Its foreign divisions were representatives of the whole Protestant world. With the Dutchmen were Brandenburgers and Swedes, and the most brilliant corps in the whole army was composed of French refugees.
[Sidenote: The National Rising.]
The landing seemed at first a failure. The country remained quiet. William's coming had been unexpected in the West, and no great landowner joined his forces. Though the king's fleet had failed to intercept the expedition it closed in from the Channel to prevent William's escape as soon as he had landed, while the king's army moved rapidly to encounter him in the field. But the pause was one of momentary surprise. Before a week had passed the nobles and squires of the west flocked to William's camp and the adhesion of Plymouth secured his rear. The call of the king's forces to face the Prince in the south no sooner freed the northern parts of England from their presence than the insurrection broke out. Scotland threw off the royal rule. Danby, dashing at the head of a hundred horsemen into York, gave the signal for a rising. The York militia met his appeal with shouts of "A free Parliament and the Protestant religion"; peers and gentry flocked to his standard; and a march on Nottingham united his forces to those under Devonshire who had mustered at Derby the great lords of the midland and eastern counties. Everywhere the revolt was triumphant. The garrison of Hull declared for a free Parliament. The Duke of Norfolk appeared at the head of three hundred gentlemen in the market-place at Norwich. At Oxford townsmen and gownsmen greeted Lord Lovelace and the forces he led with uproarious welcome. Bristol threw open its gates to the Prince of Orange, who advanced steadily on Salisbury where James had assembled his forces.
[Sidenote: Flight of James.]
But the king's army, broken by dissensions and mutual suspicions among its leaders, shrank from an engagement and fell back in disorder at his approach. Its retreat was the signal for a general abandonment of the royal cause. The desertion of Lord Churchill, who had from the first made his support conditional on the calling of a Parliament, a step which the king still hesitated to take, was followed by that of so many other officers that James abandoned the struggle in despair. He fled to London to hear that his daughter Anne had left St. James's to join Danby at Nottingham. "God help me," cried the wretched father, "for my own children have forsaken me!" His spirit was utterly broken by the sudden crash; and though he had promised to call the Houses together and despatched commissioners to Hungerford to treat with William on the terms of a free Parliament, in his heart he had resolved on flight. Parliament, he said to the few who still clung to him, would force on him concessions he could not endure; while flight would enable him to return and regain his throne with the assistance of French forces. He only waited therefore for news of the escape of his wife and child on the 10th of December to make his way to the Isle of Sheppey, where a hoy lay ready to carry him to France. Some rough fishermen however who took him for a Jesuit prevented his escape, and a troop of Life Guards brought him back in safety to London. His return revived the hopes of the Tories, who with Clarendon and Rochester at their head looked on the work of the Prince of Orange as done in the overthrow of the king's design of establishing a Catholic despotism, and who trusted that their system would be restored by a reconciliation of James with the Tory Parliament they expected to be returned. Halifax however, though he had long acted with the Tories, was too clear-sighted for hopes such as these. He had taken no part in the invitation or revolt, but now that the revolution was successful he pressed upon William the impossibility of carrying out a new system of government with such a sovereign as James. The Whigs, who had gone beyond hope of forgiveness, backed powerfully these arguments; and in spite of the pledges with which he had landed the Prince was soon as convinced of their wisdom as the Whigs. From this moment it was the policy of William and his advisers to further a flight which removed their chief difficulty out of the way. It would have been hard to depose James had he remained, and perilous to keep him prisoner; but the entry of the Dutch troops into London, the silence of the Prince, and an order to leave St. James's filled the king with fresh terrors, and taking advantage of the means of escape which were almost openly placed at his disposal James a second time quitted London and embarked on the 23rd of December unhindered for France.
[Sidenote: The Convention.]
Before flying James had burnt most of the writs convoking a new Parliament, had disbanded his army, and destroyed so far as he could all means of government. For a few days there was a wild burst of panic and outrage in London, but the orderly instinct of the people soon reasserted itself. The Lords who were at the moment in the capital provided on their own authority as Privy Councillors for the more pressing needs of administration, and quietly resigned their authority into William's hands on his arrival. The difficulty which arose from the absence of any person legally authorized to call Parliament together was got over by convoking the House of Peers, and forming a second body of all members who had sat in the Commons in the reign of Charles the Second together with the Aldermen and Common Councillors of London. Both bodies requested William to take on himself the provisional government of the kingdom, and to issue circular letters inviting the electors of every town and county to send up representatives to a Convention which met on the 22nd of January 1689. In the new Convention both Houses were found equally resolved against any recall of or negotiation with the fallen king. They were united in entrusting a provisional authority to the Prince of Orange. But with this step their unanimity ended. The Whigs, who formed a majority in the Commons, voted a resolution which, illogical and inconsistent as it seemed, was well adapted to unite in its favour every element of the opposition to James, the Churchman who was simply scared by his bigotry, the Tory who doubted the right of a nation to depose its king, the Whig who held the theory of a contract between King and People. They voted that King James, "having endeavoured to subvert the constitution of this kingdom by breaking the original contract between King and People, and by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons having violated the fundamental laws, and having withdrawn himself out of the kingdom, has abdicated the Government, and that the throne is thereby vacant." But in the Lords where the Tories were still in the ascendant the resolution was fiercely debated. Archbishop Sancroft with the high Tories held that no crime could bring about a forfeiture of the crown and that James still remained king, but that his tyranny had given the nation a right to withdraw from him the actual exercise of government and to entrust his functions to a Regency. The moderate Tories under Danby's guidance admitted that James had ceased to be king but denied that the throne could be vacant, and contended that from the moment of his abdication the sovereignty vested in his daughter Mary. It was in vain that the eloquence of Halifax backed the Whig peers in struggling for the resolution of the Commons as it stood. The plan of a Regency was lost by a single vote, and Danby's scheme was adopted by a large majority.
[Sidenote: Declaration of Rights.]
But both the Tory courses found a sudden obstacle in William. He declined to be Regent. He had no mind, he said to Danby, to be his wife's gentleman-usher. Mary on the other hand refused to accept the crown save in conjunction with her husband. The two declarations put an end to the question, and it was settled that William and Mary should be acknowledged as joint sovereigns but that the actual administration should rest with William alone. It had been agreed throughout however that before the throne was filled up the constitutional liberties of the subject must be secured. A Parliamentary Committee in which the most active member was John Somers, a young lawyer who had distinguished himself in the trial of the Bishops and who was destined to play a great part in later history, drew up a Declaration of Rights which after some alterations was adopted by the two Houses. The Declaration recited the misgovernment of James, his abdication, and the resolve of the Lords and Commons to assert the ancient rights and liberties of English subjects. It condemned as illegal his establishment of an ecclesiastical commission, and his raising of an army without Parliamentary sanction. It denied the right of any king to suspend or dispense with laws, as they had been suspended or dispensed with of late, or to exact money save by consent of Parliament. It asserted for the subject a right to petition, to a free choice of representatives in Parliament, and to a pure and merciful administration of justice. It declared the right of both Houses to liberty of debate. It demanded securities for the free exercise of their religion by all Protestants, and bound the new sovereign to maintain the Protestant religion as well as the laws and liberties of the nation. "We do claim and insist on the premises," ran the Declaration, "as our undoubted rights and liberties; encouraged by the Declaration of his Highness the Prince, we have confidence that he will perfect the deliverance he has begun and will preserve our rights against all further injury." It ended by declaring the Prince and Princess of Orange King and Queen of England. The Declaration was presented to William and Mary on the 13th of February by the two Houses in the Banqueting Room at Whitehall, and at the close of its recital Halifax, in the name of the Estates of the Realm, prayed them to receive the crown. William accepted the offer in his own name and in that of his wife and declared in a few words the resolve of both to maintain the laws and to govern by advice of Parliament.
[Sidenote: Lewis and the Revolution.]
But William's eyes were fixed less on England than on Europe. His expedition had had in his own eyes a European rather than an English aim, and in his acceptance of the crown he had been moved not so much by personal ambition as by the prospect which offered itself of firmly knitting together England and Holland, the two great Protestant powers whose fleets held the mastery of the sea. But the advance from such a union to the formation of the European alliance against France on which he was bent was a step that still had to be made. Already indeed his action in England had told decisively on the contest. The blunder of Lewis in choosing Germany instead of Holland for his point of attack had been all but atoned for by the brilliant successes with which he opened the war. The whole country west of the Rhine fell at once into his hands; his armies made themselves masters of the Palatinate, and penetrated even to Wuertemberg. The hopes of the French king indeed had never been higher than at the moment when the arrival of James at St. Germain dashed all hope to the ground. Lewis was at once thrown back on a war of defence, and the brutal ravages which marked the retreat of his armies from the Rhine revealed the bitterness with which his pride stooped to the necessity.
[Sidenote: The Grand Alliance.]
But his reception of James at St. Germain as still king of England gave fresh force to William's efforts. It was yet doubtful whether William would be able to bring England to a hearty co-operation in the struggle against French ambition. But whatever reluctance there might have been to follow him in an attack on France with the view of saving the liberties of Europe, the stoutest Tory had none in following him in such an attack when it meant simply self-defence against a French restoration of the Stuart king at the cost of English freedom. It was with universal approval that the English Government declared war against Lewis. It was soon followed in this step by Holland, and the two countries at once agreed to stand by one another in their struggle against France. But it was more difficult to secure the co-operation of the two branches of the House of Austria in Germany and Spain, reluctant as they were to join the Protestant powers in league against a Catholic king. Spain however was forced by Lewis into war, for he aimed at the Netherlands as his especial prey; and the court of Vienna at last yielded to the bait held out by Holland of a recognition of its claims to the Spanish succession.
[Sidenote: Scotland and the Revolution.]
The adhesion of these powers in the spring of 1689 completed the Grand Alliance of the European powers which William had designed; and the union of Savoy with the allies girt France in on every side save that of Switzerland with a ring of foes. Lewis was left without a single ally save the Turk; for though the Scandinavian kingdoms stood aloof from the confederacy of Europe their neutrality was unfriendly to him. But the energy and quickness of movement which sprang from the concentration of the power of France in a single hand still left the contest an equal one. The empire was slow to move; the court of Vienna was distracted with a war against the Turks; Spain was all but powerless; Holland and England were alone earnest in the struggle, and England could as yet give little aid in it. One English brigade indeed, formed from the regiments raised by James, joined the Dutch army on the Sambre, and distinguished itself under Churchill, who had been rewarded for his treason with the title of Earl of Marlborough, in a brisk skirmish with the enemy at Walcourt. But for the bulk of his forces William had as yet grave work to do at home. In England not a sword had been drawn for James. In Scotland his tyranny had been yet greater than in England, and so far as the Lowlands went the fall of his tyranny was as rapid and complete. No sooner had he called his troops southward to meet William's invasion than Edinburgh rose in revolt. The western peasants were at once up in arms; and the Episcopalian clergy, who had been the instruments of the Stuart misgovernment ever since the Restoration, were rabbled and driven from their parsonages in every parish. The news of these disorders forced William to act, though he was without a show of legal authority over Scotland. On the advice of the Scotch Lords present in London he ventured to summon a Convention similar to that which had been summoned in England, and on his own responsibility to set aside the laws passed by the "Drunken Parliament" of the Restoration which excluded Presbyterians from the Scotch Parliament. This Convention resolved that James had forfeited the crown by misgovernment, and offered it to William and Mary. The offer was accompanied by a Claim of Right framed on the model of the Declaration of Rights to which the two sovereigns had consented in England, but closing with a demand for the abolition of Prelacy. Both crown and claim were accepted, and the arrival of the Scotch regiments which William had brought from Holland gave strength to the new Government.
Its strength was to be roughly tested. On the revolt of the capital John Graham of Claverhouse, whose cruelties in the persecution of the Western Covenanters had been rewarded with high command in the Scotch army and with the title of Viscount Dundee, withdrew with a few troopers from Edinburgh to the Highlands and appealed to the clans. In the Highlands nothing was known of English government or misgovernment: all that the Revolution meant to a Highlander was the restoration of the House of Argyle. To many of the clans it meant the restoration of lands which had been granted them on the Earl's attainder; and the zeal of the Macdonalds, the Macleans, the Camerons, who were as ready to join Dundee in fighting the Campbells and the Government which upheld them as they had been ready to join Montrose in the same cause forty years before, was quickened by a reluctance to disgorge their spoil. They were soon in arms. William's Scotch regiments under General Mackay were sent to suppress the rising; but as they climbed the pass of Killiecrankie on the 27th of July 1689 Dundee charged them at the head of three thousand clansmen and swept them in headlong rout down the glen. His death in the moment of victory broke however the only bond which held the Highlanders together, and in a few weeks the host which had spread terror through the Lowlands melted helplessly away. In the next summer Mackay was able to build the strong post of Fort William in the very heart of the disaffected country, and his offers of money and pardon brought about the submission of the clans.
[Sidenote: Massacre of Glencoe.]
The work of peace was sullied by an act of cruel treachery the memory of which still lingers in the minds of men. Sir John Dalrymple, the Master of Stair, in whose hands the government of Scotland at this time mainly rested, had hoped that a refusal of the oath of allegiance would give grounds for a war of extermination and free Scotland for ever from its dread of the Highlanders. He had provided for the expected refusal by orders of a ruthless severity. "Your troops," he wrote to the officer in command, "will destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Locheil's lands, Keppoch's, Glengarry's, and Glencoe's. Your powers shall be large enough. I hope the soldiers will not trouble the Government with prisoners." But his hopes were disappointed by the readiness with which the clans accepted the offers of the Government. All submitted in good time save Macdonald of Glencoe, whose pride delayed his taking of the oath till six days after the latest date fixed by the proclamation. Foiled in his larger hopes of destruction Dalrymple seized eagerly on the pretext given by Macdonald, and an order "for the extirpation of that sect of robbers" was laid before William and received the royal signature. "The work," wrote the Master of Stair to Colonel Hamilton who undertook it, "must be secret and sudden." The troops were chosen from among the Campbells, the deadly foes of the clansmen of Glencoe, and quartered peacefully among the Macdonalds for twelve days till all suspicion of their errand disappeared. At daybreak on the 13th of February 1692 they fell on their hosts, and in a few moments thirty of the clansfolk lay dead on the snow. The rest, sheltered by a storm, escaped to the mountains to perish for the most part of cold and hunger. "The only thing I regret," said the Master of Stair, when the news reached him, "is that any got away."
But whatever horror the Massacre of Glencoe has roused in later days few save Dalrymple knew of it at the time. The peace of the Highlands enabled the work of reorganization to go on quietly at Edinburgh. In accepting the Claim of Right with its repudiation of Prelacy William had in effect restored the Presbyterian Church to which nine-tenths of the Lowland Scotchmen clung, and its restoration was accompanied by the revival of the Westminster Confession as a standard of faith and by the passing of an Act which abolished lay patronage. Against the Toleration Act which the king proposed the Scotch Parliament stood firm. But though the measure failed the king was as firm in his purpose as the Parliament. So long as he reigned, William declared in memorable words, there should be no persecution for conscience' sake. "We never could be of that mind that violence was suited to the advancing of true religion, nor do we intend that our authority shall ever be a tool to the irregular passions of any party."
[Sidenote: The Irish Rising.]
It was not in Scotland however but in Ireland that James and Lewis hoped to arrest William's progress. Ireland had long been the object of special attention on the part of James. In the middle of his reign, when his chief aim was to provide against the renewed depression of his fellow-religionists at his death by any Protestant successor, he had resolved (if we may trust the statement of the French ambassador) to place Ireland in such a position of independence that she might serve as a refuge for his Catholic subjects. It was with a view to the success of this design that Lord Clarendon was dismissed from the Lord-Lieutenancy and succeeded in the charge of the island by the Catholic Earl of Tyrconnell. The new governor, who was raised to a dukedom, went roughly to work. Every Englishman was turned out of office. Every Judge, every Privy Councillor, every Mayor and Alderman of a borough, was required to be a Catholic and an Irishman. The Irish army, raised to the number of fifty thousand men and purged of its Protestant soldiers, was entrusted to Catholic officers. In a few months the English ascendency was overthrown, and the life and fortune of the English settlers were at the mercy of the natives on whom they had trampled since Cromwell's day. The king's flight and the agitation among the native Irish at the news spread panic therefore through the island. Another massacre was believed to be at hand; and fifteen hundred Protestant families, chiefly from the south, fled in terror over sea. The Protestants of the north on the other hand drew together at Enniskillen and Londonderry, and prepared for self-defence. The outbreak however was still delayed, and for two months Tyrconnell intrigued with William's Government. But his aim was simply to gain time. He was at this very moment indeed inviting James to return to Ireland, and assuring him of his fidelity. To James this call promised the aid of an army which would enable him to help the Scotch rising and to effect a landing in England, while Lewis saw in it the means of diverting William from giving effectual aid to the Grand Alliance. A staff of French officers with arms, ammunition, and a supply of money was placed therefore at the service of the exiled king, and the news of his coming no sooner reached Dublin at the opening of 1689 than Tyrconnell threw off the mask. A flag was hoisted over Dublin Castle with the words embroidered on its folds "Now or Never." The signal called every Catholic to arms. The maddened Irishmen flung themselves on the plunder which their masters had left and in a few weeks havoc was done, the French envoy told Lewis, which it would take years to repair.
[Sidenote: Siege of Londonderry.]
It was in this condition that James found Ireland when he landed at Kinsale. The rising of the natives had already baffled his plans. To him as to Lewis Ireland was simply a basis of operations against William, and whatever were their hopes of a future restoration of the soil to its older possessors both kings were equally anxious that no strife of races should at this moment interrupt their plans of an invasion of England with the fifty thousand soldiers that Tyrconnell was said to have at his disposal. But long ere James landed the war of races had already begun. To Tyrconnell indeed and the Irish leaders the king's plans were utterly distasteful. They had no wish for an invasion and conquest of England which would replace Ireland again in its position of dependence. Their policy was simply that of Ireland for the Irish, and the first step in such a policy was to drive out the Englishmen who still stood at bay in Ulster. Half of Tyrconnell's army therefore had already been sent against Londonderry, where the bulk of the fugitives found shelter behind a weak wall, manned by a few old guns and destitute even of a ditch. But the seven thousand desperate Englishmen behind the wall made up for its weakness. They rejected with firmness the offers of James, who was still anxious to free his hands from a strife which broke his plans. They kept up their fire even when the neighbouring Protestants with their women and children were brutally driven under their walls and placed in the way of their guns. So fierce were their sallies, so crushing the repulse of his attack, that the king's general, Hamilton, at last turned the siege into a blockade. The Protestants died of hunger in the streets and of the fever which comes of hunger, but the cry of the town was still "No Surrender." The siege had lasted a hundred and five days, and only two days' food remained in Londonderry when on the 28th of July an English ship broke the boom across the river, and the besiegers sullenly withdrew.
[Sidenote: James and Ireland.]
Their defeat was turned into a rout by the men of Enniskillen who struggled through a bog to charge an Irish force of double their number at Newtown Butler, and drove horse and foot before them in a panic which soon spread through Hamilton's whole army. The routed soldiers fell back on Dublin where James lay helpless in the hands of the frenzied Parliament which he had summoned. Every member returned was an Irishman and a Catholic, and their one aim was to undo the successive confiscations which had given the soil to English settlers and to get back Ireland for the Irish. The Act of Settlement, on which all title to property rested, was at once repealed in spite of the king's reluctance. He was told indeed bluntly that if he did not do Ireland justice not an Irishman would fight for him. It was to strengthen this work by ensuring the legal forfeiture of their lands that three thousand Protestants of name and fortune were massed together in the hugest Bill of Attainder which the world has seen. To the bitter memory of past wrongs was added the fury of religious bigotry. In spite of the king's promise of religious freedom the Protestant clergy were everywhere driven from their parsonages, Fellows and scholars were turned out of Trinity College, and the French envoy, the Count of Avaux, dared even to propose that if any Protestant rising took place on the English descent, as was expected, it should be met by a general massacre of the Protestants who still lingered in the districts which had submitted to James. To his credit the king shrank horror-struck from the proposal. "I cannot be so cruel," he said, "as to cut their throats while they live peaceably under my government." "Mercy to Protestants," was the cold reply, "is cruelty to Catholics."
[Sidenote: The Revolution and the Monarchy.]
The long agony of Londonderry was invaluable to England: it foiled the king's hopes of an invasion which would have roused a fresh civil war, and gave the new Government time to breathe. Time was indeed sorely needed. Through the proscription and bloodshed of the new Irish rule William was forced to look helplessly on. The best troops in the army which had been mustered at Hounslow had been sent with Marlborough to the Sambre, and the political embarrassments which grew up around the new Government made it impossible to spare a man of those who remained at home. The great ends of the Revolution were indeed secured, even amidst the confusion and intrigue which we shall have to describe, by the common consent of all. On the great questions of civil liberty Whig and Tory were now at one. The Declaration of Rights was turned into the Bill of Rights by the Convention which had now become a Parliament, and the passing of this measure in 1689 restored to the monarchy the character which it had lost under the Tudors and the Stuarts. The right of the people through its representatives to depose the king, to change the order of succession, and to set on the throne whom they would, was now established. All claim of Divine Right or hereditary right independent of the law was formally put an end to by the election of William and Mary. Since their day no English sovereign has been able to advance any claim to the crown save a claim which rested on a particular clause in a particular Act of Parliament. William, Mary, and Anne, were sovereigns simply by virtue of the Bill of Rights. George the First and his successors have been sovereigns solely by virtue of the Act of Settlement. An English monarch is now as much the creature of an Act of Parliament as the pettiest tax-gatherer in his realm.
[Sidenote: Taxation and the Army.]
Nor was the older character of the kingship alone restored. The older constitution returned with it. Bitter experience had taught England the need of restoring to the Parliament its absolute power over taxation. The grant of revenue for life to the last two kings had been the secret of their anti-national policy, and the first act of the new legislature was to restrict the grant of the royal revenue to a term of four years. William was bitterly galled by the provision. "The gentlemen of England trusted King James," he said, "who was an enemy of their religion and their laws, and they will not trust me, by whom their religion and their laws have been preserved." But the only change brought about in the Parliament by this burst of royal anger was a resolve henceforth to make the vote of supplies an annual one, a resolve which, in spite of the slight changes introduced by the next Tory Parliament, soon became an invariable rule. A change of almost as great importance established the control of Parliament over the army. The hatred to a standing army which had begun under Cromwell had only deepened under James; but with the Continental war the existence of an army was a necessity. As yet however it was a force which had no legal existence. The soldier was simply an ordinary subject; there were no legal means of punishing strictly military offences or of providing for military discipline: and the assumed power of billeting soldiers in private houses had been taken away by the law. The difficulty both of Parliament and the army was met by a Mutiny Act. The powers requisite for discipline in the army were conferred by Parliament on its officers, and provision was made for the pay of the force, but both pay and disciplinary powers were granted only for a single year.
[Sidenote: Parliament and the Revolution.]
The Mutiny Act, like the grant of supplies, has remained annual ever since the Revolution; and as it is impossible for the State to exist without supplies or for the army to exist without discipline and pay the annual assembly of Parliament has become a matter of absolute necessity. The greatest constitutional change which our history has witnessed was thus brought about in an indirect but perfectly efficient way. The dangers which experience had lately shown lay in the Parliament itself were met with far less skill. Under Charles the Second England had seen a Parliament, which had been returned in a moment of reaction, maintained without fresh election for eighteen years. A Triennial Bill which limited the duration of a Parliament to three was passed with little opposition, but fell before the dislike and veto of William. To counteract the influence which a king might obtain by crowding the Commons with officials proved a yet harder task. A Place Bill, which excluded all persons in the employment of the State from a seat in Parliament, was defeated, and wisely defeated, in the Lords. The modern course of providing against a pressure from the Court or the administration by excluding all minor officials, but of preserving the hold of Parliament over the great officers of State by admitting them into its body, seems as yet to have occurred to nobody. It is equally strange that while vindicating its right of Parliamentary control over the public revenue and the army the Bill of Rights should have left by its silence the control of trade to the Crown. It was only a few years later, in the discussions on the charter granted to the East India Company, that the Houses silently claimed and obtained the right of regulating English commerce.
[Sidenote: The Toleration Act.]
The religious results of the Revolution were hardly less weighty than the political. In the common struggle against Catholicism Churchman and Nonconformist had found themselves, as we have seen, strangely at one; and schemes of Comprehension became suddenly popular. But with the fall of James the union of the two bodies abruptly ceased; and the establishment of a Presbyterian Church in Scotland, together with the "rabbling" of the Episcopalian clergy in its western shires, revived the old bitterness of the clergy towards the dissidents. The Convocation rejected the scheme of the Latitudinarians for such modifications of the Prayer-Book as would render possible a return of the Nonconformists, and a Comprehension Bill, which was introduced into Parliament, failed to pass in spite of the king's strenuous support. William's attempt to partially admit Dissenters to civil equality by a repeal of the Corporation Act proved equally fruitless. Active persecution however had now become distasteful to all; the pledge of religious liberty given to the Nonconformists to ensure their aid in the Revolution had to be redeemed; and the passing of a Toleration Act in 1689 practically established freedom of worship. Whatever the religious effect of this failure of the Latitudinarian schemes may have been its political effect has been of the highest value. At no time had the Church been so strong or so popular as at the Revolution, and the reconciliation of the Nonconformists would have doubled its strength. It is doubtful whether the disinclination to all political change which has characterised it during the last two hundred years would have been affected by such a change; but it is certain that the power of opposition which it has wielded would have been enormously increased. As it was, the Toleration Act established a group of religious bodies whose religious opposition to the Church forced them to support the measures of progress which the Church opposed. With religious forces on the one side and on the other England has escaped the great stumbling-block in the way of nations where the cause of religion has become identified with that of political reaction.
[Sidenote: The Revolution and the Church.]
A secession from within its own ranks weakened the Church still more. The doctrine of Divine Right had a strong hold on the body of the clergy though they had been driven from their other favourite doctrine of passive obedience, and the requirement of an oath of allegiance to the new sovereigns from all persons exercising public functions was resented as an intolerable wrong by almost every parson. The whole bench of bishops resolved, though to no purpose, that Parliament had no right to impose such an oath on the clergy. Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with a few prelates and a large number of the higher clergy absolutely refused the oath when it was imposed, treated all who took it as schismatics, and on their deprivation by Act of Parliament regarded themselves and their adherents, who were known as Nonjurors, as the only members of the true Church of England. The bulk of the clergy bowed to necessity, but their bitterness against the new Government was fanned into a flame by the religious policy announced in this assertion of the supremacy of Parliament over the Church, and the deposition of bishops by an act of the legislature. It was fanned into yet fiercer flame by the choice of successors to the nonjuring prelates. The new bishops were men of learning and piety, but they were for the most part Latitudinarians and some of them Whigs. Tillotson, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, was the foremost theologian of the school of Chillingworth and Hales. Burnet, the new bishop of Salisbury, was as liberal as Tillotson in religion and more liberal in politics. It was indeed only among Whigs and Latitudinarians that William and William's successors could find friends in the ranks of the clergy; and it was to these that they were driven with a few breaks here and there to entrust all the higher offices of the Church. The result was a severance between the higher dignitaries and the mass of the clergy which broke the strength of the Church. From the time of William to the time of George the Third its fiercest strife was waged within its own ranks. But the resentment at the measure which brought this strife about already added to the difficulties which William had to encounter.
[Sidenote: William and the Parliament.]
Yet greater difficulties arose from the temper of his Parliament. In the Commons, chosen as they had been in the first moment of revolutionary enthusiasm, the bulk of the members were Whigs, and their first aim was to redress the wrongs which the Whig party had suffered during the last two reigns. The attainder of Lord Russell was reversed. The judgments against Sidney, Cornish, and Alice Lisle were annulled. In spite of the opinion of the judges that the sentence on Titus Oates had been against law the Lords refused to reverse it, but even Oates received a pardon and a pension. The Whigs however wanted not merely the redress of wrongs but the punishment of the wrong-doers. Whig and Tory had been united indeed by the tyranny of James; both parties had shared in the Revolution, and William had striven to prolong their union by joining the leaders of both in his first Ministry. He named the Tory Earl of Danby Lord President, made the Whig Earl of Shrewsbury Secretary of State, and gave the Privy Seal to Lord Halifax, a trimmer between the one party and the other. But save in a moment of common oppression or common danger union was impossible. The Whigs clamoured for the punishment of Tories who had joined in the illegal acts of Charles and of James, and refused to pass the Bill of General Indemnity which William laid before them. William on the other hand was resolved that no bloodshed or proscription should follow the revolution which had placed him on the throne. His temper was averse from persecution; he had no great love for either of the battling parties; and above all he saw that internal strife would be fatal to the effective prosecution of the war.